Patrick Reusse: Pain of missing baseball title game relative for Osakis senior

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 17, 2013 - 11:37 AM

Grayson Fortenberry knows the true meaning of heartbreak.


Teammates tackled Osakis first baseman Grayson Fortenberry (4) after he caught the final out of the Section 5A title game in what was a 4-6-3 double play to wrap up this programís first section title against Hinckley-Finlayson on June 7 in St. Cloud.

Photo: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Osakis Silverstreaks and the New York Mills Eagles were playing a semifinal game in the state Class 1A baseball tournament on Friday at the Mini-Met in Jordan. The anticipation in state semis is higher than ever these days, as the winners get to play a championship game at Target Field.

“That would be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for any high school ballplayer,” said Grayson Fortenberry, the senior first baseman for Osakis.

Osakis scored one run on three hits in Friday’s first inning. The last of the hits was Fortenberry’s infield single, which also turned out to be his last at-bat as a high-school player.

New York Mills was batting with one out in the second inning. Adam Patron hit a ball to Fortenberry’s right. He knocked the ball down, grabbed it, saw pitcher Kilar Zimmel would be late covering first, and dived to tag the bag.

Fortenberry got the out. He also wound up in Patron’s path and was kicked in the head. He was KO’d for a few seconds and on the ground for an extended period. Once Fortenberry steadied, he had to leave a 3-0 victory that gave Osakis (20-2) its date at Target Field.

“I was told this morning that there’s no way I will be cleared to play Monday — not with the concussion rules they have now in high school,” Fortenberry said Saturday. “It hurts, not being able to play this game.”

Missing Monday morning’s title game against BOLD is a disappointment for Fortenberry. It’s not heartbreak. Grayson knows the difference, as do his older brother, Colter; his father, Mike; and other family members and friends.

They know heartbreak because on May 20, 2011, Diane Fortenberry, 51, took a quick trip from work at lunchtime to their home on Lake Osakis to let out Caesar, the family Weimaraner, and encountered Jeffery Brooks robbing the house.

Brooks, an ex-convict living in Alexandria, struck and killed Diane with a blunt instrument. Brooks was arrested a week later. He’s serving a 35-year sentence for second-degree murder at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

“I try not to, I stay busy, but I think about it every day,” Grayson said. “I do have it easier than my dad and my brother. My father lost the woman he loved for more than 20 years. And my brother was the first to come home.”

On that Friday afternoon in May, two years ago.

Diane Mielke graduated from Osakis High School in 1977. She went to Alexandria Technical College for a degree in sales and marketing. One summer, she took a job as a cook at the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone Park. She became friends with a woman co-worker from Hattiesburg, Miss., and decided to go there to work for the winter.

That’s where Diane met Mike Fortenberry. They were married in 1991 and moved to Tylertown, a small town in southeastern Mississippi that sits on the Louisiana border.

Colter arrived first, then Grayson. It was discovered at six months that Grayson had a brain tumor.

“The doctors didn’t give him much chance initially, but it turned out to be benign,” Mike Fortenberry said. “They removed the tumor and Gray was a normal, active toddler so fast it was amazing.”

Grayson said: “This is, maybe, my third concussion. There’s a little more space in there because they removed that tumor. The doctors say that might increase my chances for a concussion.”

In 2005, the Fortenberrys’ Tylertown home survived Hurricane Katrina without damage. “Until the power company started working to restore electricity in the area,” Mike said. “Diane was in the front yard, doing some cleanup, and our house just exploded. Burned down.”

In 2008, the Fortenberrys relocated to Diane’s hometown of Osakis. Everyone was enthused over the move, especially Colter, a fanatic for hunting and fishing. He’s going to be a senior at Southwest State in Marshall. Grayson will enroll there in the fall.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Indiana 88 FINAL
Charlotte 79
Philadelphia 103 FINAL
Detroit 109
Dallas 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Boston 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 3
Arizona 0 FINAL
Minnesota 2
Carolina 0 FINAL
Calgary 5
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Columbus 5 FINAL
San Jose 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM


question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters